Pension systems for state government workers across the U.S. are in their best shape since the Great Recession began more than a dozen years ago, according to a study released Tuesday.
Before the pandemic, Chicago finance officials projected that the city would eliminate its longstanding imbalance between revenues and expenditures and reach structural balance in 2023. In all, the pandemic cost the city $1.7 billion, complicating those efforts.
Chicago owes $32.9 billion to its four employee pension funds representing police officers, firefighters, municipal employees and laborers, according to the 2020 Certified Annual Financial Report — an increase of nearly 3.5% from 2019.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has vowed to “force a reckoning” on the issue of pensions, which she called “the biggest problem” facing Chicago’s finances.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was disappointed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that gives a subset of Chicago firefighters the same retirement package as their peers, saying it will “result in a deeper financial burden to the taxpayers of Chicago.” Days earlier, he signed another law Lightfoot had pressured him to reject.
Some retired firefighters could see their pensions grow after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure to boost the annual cost-of-living increase added to their checks. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the measure would create an “unfunded mandate” that would force Chicago officials to raise taxes or cut services.
Echoing statements made by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state’s comptroller says stimulus funds will first go toward paying back the billions Illinois borrowed from the Federal Reserve early in the pandemic last year.
Illinois voters in November rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to overhaul how it taxes income. Now one of Springfield’s top leaders is suggesting another swing at the effort.
The head of the board handling the Chicago Teachers Union’s pension fund disclosed a toxic culture among trustees and claimed some union members had been pushing to hire former staffers of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Before this week’s whirlwind four-day emergency session of the General Assembly, Mayor Lori Lightfoot rolled snake eyes twice in her bid to shape the rules for a Chicago casino. What her victory means for the city.
With the acknowledgement that “our choices remain hard, our fiscal situation challenging,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday delivered his proposal for a $42 billion state spending plan for the coming fiscal year.
One year ago, Illinois got a new leader when J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as the state’s 43rd governor. Pritzker reflects on his first year in office and looks ahead to what’s next.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t folding her cards just yet on a new casino tax structure, though a deal proved elusive Wednesday. That leaves just one remaining day in the veto session for a framework to be finalized and get through both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
Consolidating scores of local firefighter and police pension funds could save Illinois taxpayers between $820 million and $2.5 billion in the next five years, according to a report published by a state task force.
Watch the mayor’s full speech outlining “where we are, where we’ve come, and what we see as a path forward.” With commentary by our own Paris Schutz and Becky Vevea of WBEZ.
Just how big is the city’s budget deficit? And will Mayor Lori Lightfoot propose new taxes to close it? Lightfoot will likely spell out some of that in a much-anticipated “State of the City” address Thursday evening. Here’s a preview.